By Shelly Dunn
Group Warns Against Leaving Animals Behind to Fend for Themselves
San Diego " As the East County area continues to be threatened by wildfires, PETA is offering important advice for ensuring the safety of animal companions.
In the event that your area is evacuated, never leave companion animals behind to fend for themselves. They aren't any better equipped to survive disasters than humans are.
Know your destination ahead of time. Shelters for human victims don't often allow animals, but motels in the area will probably accept them in an emergency. Call destinations in advance and find out which ones will accommodate you and your animals.
Never leave animals unsupervised in a car; they can panic and try to escape or suffer from heatstroke once ambient temperatures rise above 70 degrees, even if water is provided and the windows are slightly open.
Place small animals in secure carriers. Dogs should be leashed with harnesses because frightening sounds and unfamiliar surroundings may make them bolt and strangle. Take water and food bowls, your animal's favorite toy or blanket, a towel, and enough food for at least one week.
Make sure that dogs and cats are microchipped and put legible ID tags with your phone number on them so that your companions can be found in case they get separated from you.
For additional disaster-preparedness tips and to view or request a copy of PETA's wildfire public service announcement (PSA) featuring Ali MacGraw, please click here. MacGraw"whose many film credits include Love Story and The Getaway"has been the victim of a wildfire herself. She lost everything in a California wildfire in the 1990s. In the PSA, MacGraw makes a heartfelt plea for residents to include their animal family members in their evacuation plans. For more information, please visit PETA.org.